US sailor charged with murder commits suicide


Published: Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.

SAN DIEGO (AP) A sailor charged with murder who committed suicide in a military jail at Camp Pendleton asphyxiated himself by stuffing toilet paper in his mouth, according to a U.S. Navy spokesman.

Petty Officer Jonathan Campos was found unresponsive in his cell about 12:20 p.m. Friday, said Navy spokesman Doug Sayers. He was rushed to the base hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

"He was intent on committing suicide and stuffed toilet paper into his mouth until he asphyxiated," Sayers said.

Campos, 32, was charged July 23 in connection to the fatal shooting of Seaman August Provost of Houston. On June 30, Provost, 29, was shot several times while on duty in a sentry station at Camp Pendleton.

Provost's remains were set on fire in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence, Navy officials said.

Campos was charged July 23 with 16 criminal offenses, including murder, unlawful handling of a dead body, stealing military property and soliciting a civilian to kill a fellow sailor. He had been in Navy custody since July 1 and faced an investigative hearing in military court, similar to a grand jury, in the coming weeks.

Provost's family believed his shooting may have been a hate crime. The family said Provost, who was gay, complained of being harassed about his sexuality in the days before his death.

Navy officials rejected those claims and said there is no record of Provost filing a harassment report.

Officials said Campos, a gas system technician, had been cooperating with investigators.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service continued to investigate the shooting death, according to Sayers.

An autopsy has been ordered for Campos.

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